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Kobel's Art Weekly

Boom! Image Ukrposhta
Boom! Image Ukrposhta
Stefan Kobel

Stefan Kobel

Kobel's Art Weekly 41 2022

The corpse of the Fiac is not yet cold, and Chris Dercon has already left the scene. According to a press release, he will be the new director of the Fondation Cartier. Just a short while ago, as President Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais, he had made it possible for Art Basel to take over the time slot traditionally used by the Fiac for the new Paris+ par Art Basel fair by re-tendering the Grand Palais at very short notice. Roxana Azimi points out Dercon's upcoming retirement from the state museums in Le Monde (paywall).

In an interview with Bettina Wohlfarth for the FAZ of 8 October, Paris+ director Clément Delépine makes no secret of the strategy behind the fair: "Paris+ is not a new fair in terms of dates and location. I don't fear any competition between Paris and Basel, nor is the context the same. In Basel, a whole city lives for this fair for a week. In Paris there is more dispersion, the tourist infrastructure is different. October in Paris or June in Basel - it's not the same atmosphere. Besides, the projects are not comparable: Art Basel in Basel undoubtedly has a place in art history. The competition between Paris and London, between Paris+ and Frieze, on the other hand, is obvious."

The confidence of Melanie Gerlis in the Financial Times, who argues in the run-up to Frieze London why the low pound is good for international collectors, is like whistling in the woods: "But of course, the weakness of the UK's currency has well-known upsides for the international art trade. It isn't something that we openly advertise, but a low pound is good for our international visitors,' [fair director Eva] Langret says. Similarly, non-UK bidders at next week's headline auctions will have an advantage over Britons, while the taxis collectors take and the meals they consume will also be cheaper." Realistically, however, the prospect of a cheap dinner is unlikely to attract anyone to the island.

Anne Reimers takes a look at the Frieze Week auction catalogues for the FAZ. At the New York autumn auctions, Sotheby's wants to score with the collection of David Solinger, the first president of the Whitney Museum who did not come from the founding family. Barbara Kutscher characterises collector and collection in the Handelsblatt. The company expects more than 50 million US dollars for a painting by Piet Mondrian, reports Tessa Solomon at Artnews. A Marian Tondio by Sandro Botticelli from the collection of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is expected to fetch 40 million US dollars for Christie's, Angelica Villa has learned for Artnews.

While in the Western world the collector population is threatened with ageing and hardly any young people are coming along, in Hong Kong millenials are on the rise, Krystal Chia of Bloomberg observed: "At Christie's Hong Kong spring auctions, 56 world records were set across art and luxury categories, with the number of millennial buyers jumping by more than a third. At Sotheby's, one third of buyers in Asia are 40 and under, compared with a quarter globally. In Hong Kong, for contemporary sales [...] a third of bidders are under the age of 30. [...] A big attraction for art investors in Hong Kong is the tax arrangement, which means there is no customs duty, value-added taxes or estate duty on artworks, unlike mainland China. It's extraordinary. We're seeing younger and younger people participate,' Alex Branczik, Sotheby's head of contemporary art in Asia, said. 'Logic should dictate that closed borders should be a challenge for the art market, but in actual fact a lot of people found themselves at home with time on their hands to research online, look at things they can buy - people are prioritizing their home.'"

Jana J. Bach visited the Warsaw Gallery Weekend for Monopol: "The gallery scene in Warsaw has become much more professional, explains Joanna Witek-Lipka, the director of this year's Gallery Weekend. The good mood also tends to continue as a trend on the Polish market for contemporary art. Nevertheless, public institutions are increasingly coming under government-led management. She also sees it as the task of galleries to provide free spaces for artistic creation."

If you're the subject of an episode of "Last Week Tonight" with John Oliver, you'll have to dress warmly. Last week it was the turn of the art market, more specifically the trade in antiquities. The traders and museum people who appear do not cut a good figure at all. A good half hour of hair-raising humour.

In a new column for The Art Newspaper, Scott Reyburn and Anny Shaw want to find out whether and how the art world is involved in reducing CO2 emissions. To start with, they have asked the major auction houses.

Christie's and fashion label High Snobiety have indulged in a subtle lack of taste, reports Jasmine Liu at Hyperallergic: "A new collaboration between Christie's and Highsnobiety is drawing criticism online for aestheticizing art handlers' labour at the same time that some workers say Christie's benefits from their low pay. The merchandise released jointly by the auction house and fashion and lifestyle brand included crew sweatshirts, t-shirts, and tote bags reading 'art handler' in all-caps and thick font - priced at $125, $65, and $50, respectively - that have since been taken down from the company's website. A Highsnobiety article announcing the line, since removed, trumpeted a new 'era where the lines between streetwear and luxury have officially blurred.'"

Artnews presents its Top 200 Collectrors. As always, more than half of them come from the USA. Just under 20 per cent are from Europe, of which almost half are based in Great Britain. There are seven names from Germany, the Hamburg-based Mato Perić is new.

An obituary of the surprisingly discontinued British art magazine Elephant is published by its former editor Charlotte Jansen in The Art Newspaper: "The end of Elephant is a familiar tale of a once independent-minded art magazine whose creativity and ambition was left scorched by corporate thinking. Its departure punches another dent in a British art publishing scene in which few autonomous voices are able to thrive." Reading this, one gets the impression that the owner's commercial director was not entirely uninvolved in the magazine's decline. She had probably qualified for her job through her previous work as editor-in-chief for Horse & Hound - which also has animals in its title.

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